October 27, 2013 - Faith, Martyrdom and Infidelities

October 27, 2013

Faith, Martyrdom and Infidelities
“Do not fear. Only believe, and she shall be saved.”
(Luke 8: 50)

Faith is not an intellectual acceptance of an objective truth. Faith is empiric, a taste of life which God grants, knowledge with the meaning of communion, a perception of God, enthusiasm (ενθουσιάζω [en-theos] =I am in God, I have God in me), dedication, love.

We see this in the martyrs. The fire of love, mightier than the pain of martyrdom, and the experience of union with Christ allowed them not to take death into consideration. The martyrs did not die out of heroism, so that an ideology to which they were committed would prevail, but out of love.

Because faith is love, it is a continual state of being, a hazardous undertaking and a struggle. Faith, as love, is a dynamic state. The faithful are not people who are at ease but those that are seekers and strugglers. This applies to everything that we believe to be true in our lives, whether it be a person or a goal… Faith does not constrain freedom.  Times of doubt, which are unavoidable in the struggle of faith (a faith in a goal, in a person, in God) do not weaken faith but strengthen it, just as times of doubt in love do not weaken, but strengthen it. Because faith is freedom and communion/community, faith is also trust and it functions as trust. Faith as trust is an essential element of life. Because of this, a truly faithful person remains in a carefree state “as the birds of the sky” (Matthew 6:26) and has the freedom of “a child” which entirely entrusts itself to its father (Matthew 7:10). Thus we say in the Divine Liturgy “let us commit our whole life” [to Christ our God].  

The most essential and inner dimension of faith is faithfulness. Faith cannot exist without fidelity. Infidelities deaden faith just as they deaden love. The infidelities of Christians distort Christianity… Our infidelities are one of the main reasons for our unfaithfulness. We prefer our “freedom” to do whatever we want rather than the faithfulness that faith contains. “If God does not exist, everything is permissible” (Dostoyevsky). “If God does not exist, I can do whatever I want” (Sartre). The lack of faithfulness, though, disrupts man’s existence and life.

Panagiotis Nellas
Periodical “Synaxi” (Greek text)
Vol. 2, Spring 1982, p. 101-102

(Translation)